Sunday, 17 June 2018

Misplacing my dad - losing a parent at a young age

Mmkay, so. As I write this, it's Father's Day, but I'm not sure when or if I'll post it. Been thinking about doing this post for a while, but I get embarrassed and stop, or I think people might think I'm writing it for attention or pity - not the case. Just feels like it's something I have to tackle for me. If I do post this and you continue to read, please just pretend like it never happened and we can get on with our lives and without (my) embarrassment.

Before this whole post turns into one of those ambiguous social media statuses that prompts "U OK, hun? DM me!" responses, I'll explain. I want to write a post about what it's like to lose a parent at a young age. Sorry.

I know I'm not alone in this experience by a long shot, but I don't feel like it's something people who go through it talk about very much. I know I don't out loud. My dad died in 1997 in a car accident - I was 9 years old, and my mum, the poor sod, had to take my sister and I out of school (I was making an angle measuring thing out of paper that also doubled up as a crocodile if you squinted hard and made it talk, which is what I was doing before I was pulled away from maths) and deliver the news to us while very pregnant with our littlest sister. Obviously, that kind of news does change your life pretty significantly. I worked out today that it's been 21 years and 2 days (at the time of writing) since that day, so I'm going to share what that's been like and what I've learned from losing a parent as a kid:

1. A "lost" parent is the ultimate conversation stopper.

When getting to know someone - a new friend, work colleague, etc. etc, very occasionally the topic turns to family and I'm asked "So what does your mum/dad do?" or something along those lines. I'm 30 now and this still makes me anxious; when I've told people in the past that I've lost a parent, the panic in their eyes as they try to think of what to say to undo the awkwardness that's sprung up between us like I've just placed a footlong rubber dildo on the table makes my guts lurch. I want to apologise profusely for the conversational dildo and run away, and so I tend to start talking really, really fast about anything I possibly can to put as big a distance between us and the topic as possible. I think this works...question mark?

Also, why do we feel the need to say we've lost someone, like we've accidentally dropped them behind a radiator? Weird choice of words, but it's less abrasive than "Well, my mum is a caretaker and my dad is dead. What do your parents do?"

2. Grief is a sneaky fucker.

Grief never goes away. I'm nearly the age that my dad was when I dropped him behind life's proverbial radiator, but the fact can still hit me like a piano falling from a third storey window. As time passes,the gaps between these bouts of ugly-crying expand quite a bit, but there's always something waiting in the wings to pounce on you and shove you back into that fun place.

As a teen, it only took the right combination of hormones, self pity and cheap cider to do the job (I've traumatised a handful of friends and one very unlucky but patient boyfriend with sporadic displays of emotional breakdown and for that I can only apologise and hope that it gave you a good anecdote or two), but as I get older, the grief gets sneakier. Its most recent attack came when I was shown a lovely picture of my dad smiling for the camera, and when my sister turned it over, it had "photo taken by Becky" written on the back - he was smiling at baby me. Cue three days of surprise sobbing. Such fun.

3. Sometimes you feel like you're mourning a fictional character.

Like I said, my dad passed away when I was 9. At that age, you don't really know anyone all that well. You're too focused on learning the names of all the dinosaurs and flying off hills on your bike without a helmet on to actually get to know the many facets of a person's character. I occasionally feel weird about missing my dad because what if I'm missing someone who doesn't actually reflect who I think he is? Here are a few things I remember about him:

  • When asking if we could do something/go somewhere, he'd respond infuriatingly with a "probably"instead of a simple yes or no.
  • He must've had a good sense of humour, because he laughed with me at the fart joke part of the Lion King's 'Hakuna Matata' with me, because, duh, fart jokes are hilarious.
  • He was halfway decent at doodling - a skill I coveted as a frizzy haired midget.
  • He put about as much thought into his tattoos as I currently do (i.e none - one of them was just his name. Jeff. Who gets "Jeff" tattooed on them, even if they're called Jeff? Come on, Jeff, mun!)
  • He was late. A lot.The irony that he has now achieved being late in multiple senses of the word isn't lost on me.
So, yeah - doesn't exactly convey a rich tapestry of a human personality, does it? One thing I did learn on a recent trip to my paternal grandparents' (that I left WAY too long to do) was that as a child, he once tried to hide a slab of butter under his hat and was busted when it started melting down his face despite his vigorous protestations that he didn't know where the butter had gone. Despite how little I know about him in the grand scheme of things, at least that story confirms that we're definitely from the same gene pool.

I'll leave it there - tried my best not to wang on. Thanks for letting me get that post out of my system and for reading (and, in advance, for never mentioning that you have to me in real life...). Normal service resumes next post, where I'll probably talk about my weird foot and make jokes about snack foods as per usual.

Hope all the excellent dads, step dads, grandads and father figures (male, female, neither and both) have had a day as excellent as they are! Keep on dadding, daddos! =)

Jeff Taunton - the man who sat by and smiled while his daughters were cruelly forced to pose in puffy, flowery balls of velour and static (I did kind of love that dress, and it probably wouldn't take a lot of coercion to get me into a similar one now. Don't judge.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Becky Joins a Globo Gym

"Here at Globo Gym we understand that ugliness and fatness are genetic disorders, like baldness or necrophilia, and it's your fault if you don't hate yourself enough to do something about it."
- White Goodman, Dodgeball, 2004

So, last month I joined a new gym - like, a corporate, people doing weird things to their bodies, encased in machinery sort of gym.

This year, my rubbish foot got so bothersome (for want of a stronger term) that I had to be rescued from the park by car halfway through a dog walk on multiple occasions because it hurt too much to walk the half a mile home. Clearly my plan of action (hope for the best and purchase squashy shoes) wasn't working. 

So, new plan of action - I had an MRI scan that confirmed that my problematic appendage is riddled with plantar fasciitis, chock full of scar tissue and so unsupportive of itself that it'd hold its shape better if it was made of Play Doh. Now, I'm attacking it with weekly trips to the osteopath, who also gives me acupuncture (needles in the soles of your feet feel lovely, don't they? Like a tiny animal gnawing on your nerve endings), and I've put the functional fitness classes, with all its fun jumping and running and whatnot on hiatus and joined a gym where I can do as much low impact stuff as possible. I can't just stop working out - it takes a lot of effort to look this average. Blood, sweat and pizza, bruh.

DW Sports Fitness has everything I expected from such an environment:

  • Immaculately presented ladies with swishy ponytails, somehow not sweating on treadmills
  • Flocks of flexing bros orbiting the weights section like muscly satellites
  • People reclining on machines, repping out text after text
  • Group exercisers being instructed, with no hint of irony to "feel the burn"
Tell you what, though - I'm having so much fun! I joined a fully fledged, Dodgeball-esque Globo Gym (go Cobras!), fully expecting having to bored of being rescued from contraptions I've tangled myself up in within a week. Not the case! 

In the handful of weeks I've been a member, I've discovered a tonne of new ways to move! I've practically moved into the building I'm there so often. When I scan my membership card in at reception, I've started putting my head down in the hopes that the almost American-ly friendly staff there don't point out (accurately) that I might need to get out more.

My foot and I are having a jolly old, impact-avoiding time. Here's what we've been up to:


Okay, yeah, I've swum before, but rarely for actual exercise. My experiences of swimming up until now have been at school, where I had to wear a fetching plastic cap and ear plugs to protect my ear infection prone, gromet-filled ears from the tiniest drop of moisture. I spent most of that time in the pool doggy paddling about and hoping that this is what the teacher wanted us to do, because I sure as shit couldn't hear what she was yelling. As an adult, swimming only happened when on holiday, floating like a corpse and hoping that maybe if I drowned, the hang over might stop. It's surprisingly pleasant to be able to do laps without a grown up gesticulating wildly at you, and without the desire for the sweet relief of death.


Why, oh why haven't I discovered this sooner? My default setting is 'tense as fuck', and I deal with this by writing lists and hoping that'll help me off the mental merry-go-round of "I need to do this, this, this, that, this, this, this..." and "oh, God, my house is on fire, isn't it?" Spoiler - it doesn't. 

Yoga does, though. Turns out that there's very little room for the thoughts when you're concentrating super hard on not falling over/snapping your hamstrings/farting. I haven't farted in class yet. Not even once. Smug face.

Also, the ten minutes at the end of every session where  you lie down in a dark room is great. I love lying down in a dark room. It's my favourite.


AKA '50 different ways to feel like you're having a hernia'. Only done one of these classes so far, and enjoyed. Lots of clenching and balancing and whatnot. Again, no farts. Clearly, I'm an expert in yoga and pilates already.

Les Mills Body Pump

This one's been weird. Done it twice so far. The first time I went, I swaggered in and scooped up all the weights because, "pfft, I can lift WAY more than what these people are putting on their bars!" 

Cut to twenty minutes into a billion repetitions of squats, chest presses, push ups and bicep curls, and I'm flinging weights off my bar like they're poisonous spiders. Confusion reigned - the instructor, bless her, kept nodding encouragingly at me as I stood, nonplussed, thinking "WHAT? What do you want from me?!" as the rest of the group moved seamlessly from movement to movement with the music. 

I spent the next couple of days baffled as to how such teeny weeny weights could make me ache so much, especially since most of my time at class was spent looking in bewilderment around the room. I've been back again since, and am still slightly bemused by the whole thing. All I know is that I definitely want to go again, and that after doing only a few push ups to Lean Back by Fat Joe, I resemble a trout having an epileptic seizure on dry land. Stupid mirrored studio.


Praise be to all that is good and holy, for I have found my jam! 

  • Stationary bike that you don't have to worry about getting flattened by traffic on
  • LOUD 90s dance music
  • Insane person shouting at you to "TURN IT UP ONE MORE NOTCH! GO FASTEEEEEER!!!" as your legs scream bloody murder at you and you slowly go blind from all the sweat in your eyes

Sorry, got a bit excited there. I'm just chuffed to have finally found something as intensely horrible/wonderful as running, where I can trip my tits off on endorphins to Rhythm is a Dancer as I turn purple.  It's *sniff* just...*wipes away tear*.

Yeah. So, there we are. I'm off to yoga now to continue my so far successful run of not passing wind in public. Namaste and all that!

fitness, girl, hands 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Thirty, Burpy and Rhyming

It's been a busy(ish) few weeks, and I've written naff all on here for a while, so I think it's high time I gave you, Faceless Internet, an update. Plus, A has gone away for his first weekend's training with the Army Reserves, leaving me to fend for myself. 

So far, I've eaten nothing that requires the use of an oven, treated myself to another "ahh, go on then!" tattoo, and watched in awe as my mother turned up at the house at 9am on a Saturday, armed with a tonne of cleaning equipment that she's been gagging to use since she learned A was going to be out of town. She's the Tasmanian Devil of cleaning. It truly is something to behold. I'm sitting in the neat and gleaming aftermath of Storm Tina and couldn't be more grateful.

So. A blog post, then. 

I've been test driving this "being a 30 year old" thing for just over two months now, which means I'm an expert at it. Obvs. This is the first year of my life where I'm constantly conscious of my age in any and all situations, and I wanted to share with you what that's been like so far. You know, because nobody else has every turned 30 before. We're breaking new ground here, people! Here we go...

Death is always watching

You know those stickers you see in people's houses that say "dance like no one's watching" etc. etc. (usually in the homes of people who also have "live, laugh, love" on their walls)? Well, someone is watching. And he's got a big, somewhat impractical scythe and wears a comfy, black dressing gown with a hood, even during the summer. Death. Death is always watching. Happy Sunday! 

What I mean by this is (I might be on my own here,because I've always been a smidge morbid) that I've found that the older I'm getting, the more terrified I am by my inevitable demise. An example - for a friend's birthday recently, a bunch of us went to Go Ape. This is where you voluntarily attach yourself to bit of rope on hooks, climb 'nope!' feet into the air and rely on said rope on hooks to violently fling yourself from one tree to the next. It was great, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But, for the first couple of trees, if there weren't any witnesses, I'd have likely have been stood on one of the platforms, shaking like Mr Bean on a diving board, unable to make the jump. 

I definitely wasn't alone in that. Before we set off, our group's collective facial expression was one of pale, grinning "why the fuck are we paying to do this instead of the usual drinking until we fall down?" trepidation. Meanwhile, a 10 year old, who'd dragged his poor mother along for a day out that she clearly hadn't grasped the reality of until the last minute, gracelessly swang, jumped and bounced his way from tree to tree like he was an immortal with rubber bones. Bastard.

I don't look so good. *shrug*

Okay, so I've never been totally over the moon about my appearance (bloody patriarchy *shakes fist*), but my attitude towards it is shifting. I think my body is starting to rebel against any feeble attempts at control that I make:
  • My metabolism - it's starting to take naps on the job. Back in uni, I survived on a balanced diet of beer and tinned orange stuff with cheese on (my signature dish) and I stayed more or less the same shape and size for the whole three years. Today? Just thought briefly about eating some quiche and I can already feel the stirrings of a third chin. 
  • My face - up until last year, I believed that make up was fun goo that you apply to your face as part of a sort of costume, just for nights out, like face paint. Now, unless I smear concealer under my eyes on the daily, the dark, baggy patches of skin make me look like I've seen things, man! Also, wrinkles are fun, aren't they? Instead of lovely laughter lines, I have "confused" and "surprised" lines between my eyes and on my forehead. I have physical evidence etched on my face now of how baffled I am by life. Great.
If these kinds of things were happening to me five years ago, I'd have been hiding under the sofa, only coming out when someone has Maoams and/or a cheese platter for me. Now, I'm weirdly enjoying the near total lack of control I have over this flesh robot that I inhabit. It amuses me. I mean, I still get sad when supermarket staff go to I.D me and then tell me "oh, never mind, you're good" when they clock my evidently haggard and weather-worn face, but at least it still does what it needs to do, which is wordlessly wish a curse on him and his entire family and any future generations to come, all while I'm saying "ha, no problem" and gleefully scanning wine, which I now need even more of, through self service.

Bedtime is the shit

You know what I've done for the two nights while I've had the house to myself? I'll let you guess. Did I:

A. Throw a raging 2 day house party
B. Go on an adventure and sample some of the great experiences the world I inhabit has to offer
C. Watch a minimal amount of Netflix with the pets and then gleefully retire to bed before 10pm, in the starfish position, until the dog kicked me back into the corner of it, where I belong?

The answer was A! Did you get it? 

Of course it wasn't A. I actively look forward to bed time from the second I wake up, and I'm cool with that. Bed is comfy. Bed doesn't ask you to do anything in exchange for money (at least in my line of work, it doesn't). Bed is the only thing in this life that gives without taking, and I love it. 

*looks at watch*

Only 12 more hours before I get to go back in! For now, quiche is calling me and my chins. I will leave you with an image of me being 30 and loving it, despite neither flirty or thriving, as slogans on mugs will have you believe:

"Witness my rebirth! Is it bed time yet?"

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Fire, foofs and fear. A reflection on Stephen King's 'It'

Finally bit the bullet and changed my URL to 'Rebecca Writes and Ran'. Acceptance of my indefinite existence as a wonky-footed invalid feels freeing. Well done on finding your way back to me in spite of the new web address. Take a free compliment from the list below:

Option 1:  You are wonderful and people should buy you shiny trinkets.
Option 2:  Your face is radiant like the sun, and it hurts to look directly at it.
Option 3:  How you doin'? *looks you up and down*

This month, I are mostly been reading, and what I are mostly been reading is Stephen King's 'It'. I'm a bit late to the party, I know, but I wanted to read It before I see either movie - although I might never watch the original, because I don't want my adoration of Tim Curry to be squashed - I've heard it's a bit shit.

Anyway, I loved  the book! I didn't expect it to be so much fun. It captures how children think and feel perfectly, and you know when a baddie's a good one when you're chuffed whenever they make an appearance.

"Yay, the murdering clown is back, and this time he's all oozy!"

It's definitely a book with a couple of problematic bits (gratuitous kiddie sex for starters - from this post on, I'm going to block that particular scene from my memory. Hurrah for selective amnesia!), but overall, I loved it. Made me think about what I was scared of as a kid vs what frightens me now as an adult, so, naturally, I'm going to talk about it on the internet.

I don't think much scared me when I was a curly-haired, dinosaur loving Beckychild compared to what gives me the willies these days. Here are the top 3 fears of baby Becks:

1. That I wouldn't know everything by the time I was a grown-up. I legit believed that you had to know pretty much everything by the time you're an adult, or you failed, and so I asked questions from the second my eyes snapped open, to the moment  I passed out, knackered from bothering all the adults for their adulty wisdom all day:

"Yeah, but how do we know the moon and the sun aren't the same thing??"

Shame Google wasn't around back then. Might have given my poor parents a bit of peace.

2. Death. I was a morbid little shit, and used to lie in bed for hours, not sleeping and terrifying myself with the idea that I, me, the center of the universe, just won't exist one day. How could that be possible? Surely the world will have nothing to revolve around?

3. Embarrassment. Very little embarrasses me today. It's hard to take yourself too seriously when you're aware of how ridiculous a human you are, and how all humans are, but up until about the age of 10/11 (okay, let's be honest....19/20), I tackled life with the utmost seriousness. I would become good at everything, and failure was not an option. Cue the day the teacher reads out that you've written "foof" instead of "roof" on your spelling test. The shame! The humiliation!

Fast forward a couple of decades, and here's what gives me a hefty hit of the heeby jeebies:

1. Death. No change there. Still morbid. Last year, I even went through a moment of "Maybe I should pick a religion, just in case?" Pretty sure that's not how faith works...

2. Fire. I've only had this one since I've had pets. Every time I leave the house, I get flash forward of my fur babies being barbecued in my absence. This is when I have to turn my car around for the third time that morning to check that my GHD's are unplugged, the phone chargers' sockets are off, the oven is dormant, and none of my furniture has spontaneously combusted. To top it off, there's a house on the other side of the motorway that I live next to that has orange lights in one of its rooms - whenever I'm walking up the hill to my house, the light is positioned behind my house in a way that makes it look like my spare room is aflame. It freaks me out every single frigging time I see it. Ugh.

3. Doing life wrong - like there'll be a test at the end that you're graded on.

"What if people realise I'm a bit odd?"
They do, and it's fine.

"Aren't I supposed to have sold a bunch of books by now?"
Might help if you bothered to write one....

"Do I spend too much time on Facebook/the internet in general?"
Dunno. Let's Google what the average is.

4. Being a bit hungry. Hunger leads to hanger, and no one enjoys that alter ego of mine. What's her problem?

5. Time. I could have sworn that yesterday was Christmas day, 2012. Where am I? Who is this man I'm living with? Can I have a sandwich?

I could go on and on about the fear-riddled mass of anxiety I've become as a growed-up, but I'd be here all day, and I've got shit to do.

The take-away that I've got from writing this list is that if Pennywise/It lived in the sewers of Hendy, Carmarthenshire, It would likely present itself to me as a lighter-weilding teacher whose mission is to take my snacks away from me. It would also be wearing one of those big house clocks round its neck like a rapper from the early 90s.

What daft form would fear take for you?

 "Fear? We thought you said beer!" haw haw etc etc. 
I'll show myself out...

Monday, 22 January 2018

Dear Spotty (a letter to teenage me)

This Saturday, I shall be shedding my 20-something cocoon and bursting forth into the world as a 30 year old butterfly. A butterfly who gets sleepy at 9pm, wears "comfy" clothes and chooses to sport a super practical mum-bob that looks less sexy Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction and more 90s boyband bowl cut. What? I enjoy feeling the breeze on my neck.

Normally, at this time of year, I list something I have learned for each year of my life (29 things at 29 etc), but the numbers are just getting silly now. If you tried to put a candle for each year on a birthday cake for me, the cake would likely be engulfed in a ball of flames. Or you'd just have to get a bigger cake.

I wouldn't mind if you wanted to get me a bigger cake. Just saying. 

Today I'm trying something different. I'm going to write a letter to my younger self. I choose teenage me, aged 15-18, because, like Jon Snow, she knew nothing. She also had black, curly hair like Jon Snow's, but I doubt Jon's contained a litres of Silvikrin Firm Hold hairspray and was crunchy to the touch. She won't listen to me, but here goes anyway.

Dear Hormonal Becky,

Hi! I'm you, but from the future. First of all, I want to say that I still approve of your 50 layers of eyeliner and your super 'alternative' choice in clothing. You look so edgy and unique. Just like all your friends! 

I also want to apologise a little bit. I think you expected you at aged 30 to be a bit more...more...than I am. I wear gym clothes during the day wherever possible out of choice now (I know - such a townie!), and I like to keep my little yellow house tidy because it makes me happy to be in it when it looks nice. Also I could only put off morphing into Mum for so long. You can't fight nature. 

This week, I'm taking time off for my birthday,and I've spent all day today waiting for someone to fix a leak in my ceiling and for my MOT for my sensible white car to be done. Not the coolest, am I? But then again, you write questionable poetry and think that those plastic "shag bands" that make your wrists all sweaty are the epitome of cool, so people in glass houses and all that...

Let me think about what's not changed too much, so as not to make you want to prematurely top yourself before you morph into this comfort-seeking alien that you can't even entertain becoming....

My music taste hasn't really changed. I still listen to all the same albums that you listen to right now, because new music = effort, and I finally got that Blink 182 tattoo that you always wanted. It makes me smile when I'm trying to be all serious and busy in meetings at work to see a reminder poking out of my jacket that no matter how old I get, my favourite  band sings such classics as "I Wanna Fuck a Dog in the Ass" and "Happy Holidays, You Bastard". Quite difficult to take yourself too seriously when your tattoos look like the doodles you scrawled on your school notebooks during lessons (you rebel, you!).

We still eat our body weight in cheese at every given opportunity, but it's not affecting you too terribly yet because you (you might want to sit down for this revelation) exercise for fun. 

I know, right? You can't run anymore because you fucked your foot by over training for a marathon in 2015 (sorry - should have given you a trigger warning there. If it helps, the race had a live band on every mile, and you quite enjoyed the bits where you weren't silently praying for a swift death at mile 17. Following the race, you and Amy W hit up Liverpool in your medals and slut dropped in an empty pub until you could no longer stand up...good times), so you happily fling barbells and other heavy objects around now in your free time. Keep an open mind - it'll end up being your favourite thing!

You're not an author yet. Sorry. You still have a knack for getting carried away with ideas and then abandoning them because "they're shit and I suck!!", but you do blog (ta-daa!) with semi-regularity, and you recently got a job writing for an in-house magazine and internal newsletters at a big utilities company. You enjoy it, and you've learned that your ability to panic about every minor thing has made you surprisingly organised, which works to your advantage in this job. Your permanent sense of "AAAGH!!" is your secret weapon. You may never rid yourself of it, but it does come in handy sometimes, and you combat it with weekend naps and more of that exercise stuff that I shocked you with earlier. It's all good.

Now that I've taught you that your goals (e.g to be paid to write) can be achieved in mysterious and unexpected ways, and that your near-constant anxiety can be helpful sometimes, I should bear in mind that I could learn a lot from you too.

I'm a lot calmer than you are. I still react to everything like my hair just's been doused with petrol and had a match held to it, but in a more "it's okay, I'll just put a hat on it and pretend my scalp isn't melting" kind of way. Your reactivity might be a pain in the backside, but I do miss feeling everything as intensely as you do. Everything hurts and brings you joy in equal measure, but I want to tell you to hold on to that for as long as you can, because it does unfortunately fade for the most part. Lots of things hurt your sensitive, spotty little soul, but only because you just care so chuffing much!

My most intensely happy, uncomfortable and low moments happened to me at your age, and they colour who I am today (comfy, driven, often nervous, suffering frequent bouts of nostalgia). I would give up dairy and coffee for life(a bold statement, believe me) to experience a few days of living with the HD, 3D, hormone addled feels-splosion soup that my brain was marinated in at your age. No wonder you had such bad acne. You were a fleshy case of emotion (ew), but stuff mattered. Enjoy it while you can, and I'll try and do the same.

You must be wondering what I'm going to be doing for our 30th? 

Probably not, actually. You're more likely to be wondering how you broach the topic of that gig you need a lift to with your parents, or which new Blink poster you NEED to purchase next. Regardless, we're going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Almost-30 year old you might be a coffee drinking dweeb who treats their dog like an human baby(oh, yeah - we got a dog! DOG! DOGGY!! We love him with an unhealthy fervor), but actual 30 year old you will be a motherfucking wizard come Sunday. Watch this space!

Lots of love

Becky from the future (WooOOOooOOooooo...)

p.s for the last time, you're NOT fat!

Two equally strong looks, young Spotty. Good job.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Troubled times/Happy new year!


Sorry, have you got a headache? Surprisingly, and smugly, I haven't. I discovered the wonderful, cakey cocktail that is the White Russian this festive period and it either doesn't give me hang overs, or the Matrix reset itself as soon as the clock struck 12 last night (this morning? I'm never sure which 12:00 is a.m or p.m...Considering I'm turning 30 this month, I should probably learn to tell the time soon). Regardless, it's 2018! My knuckles are still white from 2017, so hopefully this year'll be a slower one. 

I know that 2017 (and 2016, come to think of it) globally felt like 12 months in the Upside Down, but on a personal level I was lucky in that my problems were all of the "woe is me, my life is too nice!" variety, so please allow me to indulge myself in recapping all the terrible 'troubles' I experienced last year. Hankies at the ready! 

1. Moving house is haaaaard

That famous property ladder that everyone and their dog seems to be on? Me and my dog are now on it! We've moved down the M4 to a quiet (if you ignore the motorway that is 2 metres from my back garden...if you close your eyes and pretend you can't hear the honking and/or sirens, you can convince yourself that the traffic is lovely waves lapping at the beach...kind of) area where people do all manner of weird things like making eye contact with you and saying stuff like "Hello!" and "Good morning!" Very odd, but curiously pleasant. I can't beat them, so I suppose I'll have to join them.

2. Changing jobs is haaaaard

I secured myself a new jobbo - a role that mostly involves organising stuff (diaries! Stationary! Post-its! BIROS! *rubs knees*) and writing bits of content for internal staff. It comes with an hour-long commute each way, where I'm forced to laugh at podcasts for 60 whole minutes before I can be reunited with my beloved diary and Word documents. The toil! The torment!

3. My weird foot

...the name of my debut album/autobiography. Dibs!

After a whole year of appointments, acupuncture, physio and having my feet rubbed by professionals (not strangers at the bus stop - I assume that's not how most people make friends), the wonky foot I dragged through a marathon in 2015 is now.... still a bit fucked! Think it's safe to say that my brief career in shuffling is on indefinite hiatus, but this is fine - mostly because it has to be, but it no longer has me weeping and flailing like a damsel in a black and white movie every time I feel the slightest twinge in it. For now, the weird, achy appendage at the end of my right leg is part of me, and together we will continue to enjoy the fact that I'm still able to walk round the block to empty the dog twice a day, go to functional fitness classes to be forced to do burpees with other sweaty people, and to go to the (pretty decent for a fiver a month) gym at my new workplace.

If it weren't for all my foot faff, I would never have got over my fear/disdain for gym machines. I used to be a bit snobby about them, but have since come to realise that they are there to help you move weight safely, and that they can be pretty fun. Niggly sports injuries - the great humbler of exercise snobs the world over!*

4. No bugger I know has the same surname any more!

This year, I have attended 4 weddings (no funerals, thankfully), 2 hen parties (wheeey! Hen! Hen! Hen! Hen!) and one baby shower. In my friendship group, there has been a sudden, seismic shift into proper-grown-updom. I've been all over Britain in fancy frocks, watching my friends wear even fancier frocks while they promise to fancy their partners in fancy suits for the rest of their lives. 

It's been so nice to have gone to so many parties and celebrate with them. The only issue that arises from this is that while my liver is reeling from the constant onslaught of these events (I'm pretty sure there's a space where my liver used to be that's now occupied by prosecco bubbles and tequila *gag*), it sometimes takes me a minute to figure out who that person is with the surname I'm not used to seeing on my Facebook feed - "oh, it's that friend I've known since she used to bring traffic cones home from their nights out!"

To sum up, I got 99 problems, but a real one ain't one. 

May 2018 bring you lots of similar trials and tribulations. We can all form a support group and discuss how terribly terrible our lives are, and if it helps, we can have wine and cheese too.

Also, if it turns out to be yet another year in the upside down, don't worry - I've got us covered:

Just call me Will Byers

* Being as I'm not likely to be crossing any race start lines, let alone finish lines any time soon, I'm a bit torn over the name/URL of this blog...please visit the Rebecca Writes and Runs Facebook page to help me out with the poll I'm going to put up. I would be much appreciate. Thanking you muchly. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Creepers, Weepers and Burpees - A Roundup

Hangover day two.  Finally starting to see the horizon on which I will no longer be craving pizza and Maoams for every single meal;  A foreign land where I don't respond to every attempt at interaction with me with a "Wuh? Sorry, my ears are still ringing," as I pray internally for the ground to swallow me up.

Had a leaving do with my workmates on Saturday.  I'm told by a few sources that I was "funny", which usually means that I was so trousered that I thought my name was Jagerbomb.  Cracking night, but definitely paid the price!  Main thing that's brought me through resulting paranoid, carb craving fug of my hangover was forcing my body into moving about a bit at my current gym - F.I.T Pontarddulais (click for FITBont's Faceboobs page).  Been going ever since I decided to move to the area.  Still feel like I've cheated on Outcast, but convenience and a lovely crowd and a coach who is the human equivalent of of caffeine ("You're doing GREAT! Nearly finished! Only joking! BURPEEEEES!!!") have made the transition really fun:

"Smile like your arms aren't ready to fall off!"

I love group exercise. Love.  It.  Along with the camaraderie and (I fucking hate the word, but I can't think of an alternative because I lost all my brain cells to cider) banter (*dies a bit inside*), it's nice to have witnesses to prevent the "Nope! Time for cake, bye bye!" moments I'd usually experience trying to work out solo....Which I might have to start doing more of soon, what with my new jerb being a bazillion and twenty five light years away (I Google mapped it) from my house.  For this reason, I'm enjoying the group stuff as much as I can for now, just in case I'm not able to do it as much in the near future.  

Contrary to some people's beliefs, group exercise is rarely boring. As well as the content of the workouts changing all the time, where your head is at (in the case of this evening, it was physically in the gym and mentally at Domino's) changes every day too, which makes for some interesting times.  Here are a few types of workout you can get at a functional fitness and/or Crossfit type class, based on my experience:

The Weeper

 You came to the gym because you've had a pants day.  You're a bit emotionally, erm...squiffy.  You know from experience that you rarely leave the gym sad, because endorphins and science and shit, so you drag your anxious, frazzled self to the Church of Iron to be cleansed.  You get a few reps in.  You and the barbell are one. You are the barbell. Until you aren't.  The barbell is a torture device, designed to somehow get heavier with each movement.  Your coach asks if you want to add more weight to the bar because he obviously secretly hates you and would very much like to kill you.  You wonder whether it's acceptable to sob openly in public. Maybe you could just tell people that you sweat most from your eyes? You hate this.  You can't do this.  You just can't.  Until you can.  Because you just did.  And now you're beaming and high-fiving everyone within range because "THAT WAS AWESOME!!", conveniently forgetting that a few reps ago, you were praying to all and any deities for a swift and merciful death so you didn't have to do it any more.

The Creeper

"Oh, those are all body weight/ kind of simple movements!  I can do all of those things!  This will be a walk in the park!"  You are wrong.  And you are certainly aren't going to be able to walk in any parks (or at any other kinds of recreational grounds, for that matter) for at least a week, because everything hurts too much.  DOMs has you now.  Rest in peace.

The Team Effort

i.e The one where you can't half arse it because people are watching you at closer range than normal. Judging.  Always judging

...Or so you convince yourself as each teammate takes a minute to rasp and wheeze into a water bottle while they wait for their turn.  Oh, you can't wait for your turn to do the rasping and wheezing.  Water bottle is safe.  Water bottle is life.

The "Nice" One

This is where the coach/trainer occasionally throws in a workout where it doesn't leave you trying to decide whether you should stay on this Earthly plane or shuffle on into to light.  I'm convinced that they do this once a month or so in order to trick you into thinking that you're suddenly "really, really good at this exercise stuff!"...right before they plunge you face first into another Creeper the following day.   With a "burpees with sprinting" finisher.  *shakes fist* 

...I had a "nice" one tonight.  Off to F.I.T again Wednesday.  Pray for me.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Changes Afoot (Weddings/Jobbo)

I am so happy right now.  It's Saturday, and I'm sitting in my safe place - the spare room; A blissfully Sky Sports free zone.  Just me, a Leslie Knope Pop Vinyl (for inspiration and stuff) and the dog...who is currently chewing loudly on his toenails while I try not to vomit at the sound.

"WWLD - What would Leslie do?"

This is the first Saturday in a while where I have literally naff all planned (my favourite kind of Saturday!).  2017 is the year that all of my friends from school and university are evolving into "marrieds" and leveling up into parents and "proper adults".  Even I'm not immune.  I've come down with a terminal case of Mortgage.

Facebook has become a baffling mind game where I have to guess who these smiling people whose surnames I don't recognise anymore are, despite having known them for at least a decade.  It's like being flung into an alternate reality with only minor differences where a Westlake is now a Davies and a Dew is a Purdon.  My poor, easily befuddled brain.

Anyway, point I was getting at is that I've been busy attending parties, hen dos and ceremonies.  My liver is pickled and my head is packed with fun memories, but I'm ready to go into hibernation for a bit now until the next round of I do's and bouquet flinging at the end of this month.  Bring me water and a blanket!

In other news, I got a new jobbo this week!  I work with a company I really like, and luckily, the job is with the same organisation.  I had a crack at applying for this new "as-if-I'll-manage-to-get-it-but-I'd-be-stupid-not-to-try" role, and to my surprise, I only went and bloody got it! It involves creating content, meeting lots of people and occasionally nipping about Wales to share said content with aforementioned lovely people. I can't wrap my brain around the fact that I'll be getting to do that stuff for actual, real, not-imaginary money dollars. Just...what?!!  

I'm already bracing myself for the day I leave my current office ugly-crying because I'll miss working with the people I see every day right now, but I'm sure it'll be worth the hour long commute and the inevitable sobbing (I've cried leaving every full time job I've departed since uni.  You could say that I get slightly attached).  I've never had a full time creative job before, and I'm simultaneously completely over the moon and soiling myself.  There's no change of pants on the moon, so the plan is to get stuck in and just enjoy myself when I start.  I can't wait!

I suspect you'll want me to impart my wisdom re: how I secured said jobbo via the interview I attended.  Truth is,I have no bloody idea! The people who interviewed me were so nice that I assume they'd have been equally lovely regardless of how well/iffily I did. Here is what I remember from it, so take from it what you will:

 Becky's "tips" for "nailing" an interview:

1.  Show up 40 mins early and spend 20 of them trying to pry your white-knuckled fingers from the steering wheel and enter the building.

2.  Sit in waiting room for further 20mins, smiling like a puppy who wants to be adopted at anyone that passes through.

3.  Forget that when you go to shake potential boss' hand that you actually have to grip back and weakly (and slightly creepily) touch palms with her instead.

4.  When offered a cup of water, cling to it for grim death.

5.  Talk really fast while your free hand conducts an imaginary orchestra next to you.

6.  Sweat profusely.

7.  "Jokingly" inform prospective manager how nervous you are, as though doing so will dissipate said nerves. Be incorrect about this.

8.  When leaving the room, take plastic cup of water with you because water cup is life.  Water cup is safety.

9.  Sit back in the car and wait for the adrenaline of having survived a (relatively short, friendly and informal) interview to pass. When this doesn't happen, drive home.

10.  Fall into a coma at 8.30pm while the sun is still up. 

Hurrah!  Promotions for all! If you're lucky, your mum might troll you with the gift of a "celebratory" T-Shirt.

 ...thanks, sarky mare.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Quick Catch Up

 ....aaaand we have internet!  A month into living in my first ever owned home (not renting, not squatting in, not sitting in the bushes outside of...owned!), and I am finally connected to the big, invisible web of Youtube videos of animals playing the keyboard and ranting weirdos on Facebook.  Now I'm home =)

Obligatory "look, I've got some keys!" photo.  I am wearing a top, and I do have boobs. 
Both top and boobs are both just possibly hanging out with my knees... Or I was so excited that morning that I put my head on the wrong way round and the fleshy area you see is really my back.  Who knows.
...Did I mention I've got a house??

A brief catch up on my to-ings and doings(because I'm feeling too lazy this lovely, bright Sunday to think of an actual post with a proper structure and theme (you know, like all the other masterpieces I've flung onto this thing like a monkey throwing poop):
  • I may never move house again in my life ever ever, even if an asteroid flattens this one.  The experience leading up to it had so many highs and crashing lows that I think I have house buying PTSD.  Every time I hear the word "solicitor", I now get the chills and start mumbling in tongues. 
  • My mum should legit be one of those Ikea elves that create rooms for people to look at in the "furniture zoo" section of the shop.  I mean, look at this shit - I definitely wouldn't have put this lot together using my own brain:

Just .... *gestures*  I spent a good few days genuinely welling up at how much I love my surroundings and how much my family must love me to give up their time to help make it look so nice.  
Or maybe what I perceive as love is actually their "fear of allowing Becky to be within 50 feet of a drill and/or flat pack furniture."  The Sunday we moved in, Andy had to deal with violent swings between 
"I'm so happy!  I love it here!" to "Waaah, I've done nothing to deserve to live somewhere so pretty!  My family are too good for meeee! DON'T YOU DARE MOVE THAT COASTER, IT'S PERFECT WHERE IT IS!!"
I think I win at first world problems this month.
  • I've started running again.  Sort of.  Through the NHS' Couch to 5k app, I've built up to running in 90 second intervals, which my aggro foot appears to be tolerating for now.  Injury still infuriatingly "there", but at least on good stretches where it pretends that it's a normal, functioning foot, there is no pain at all, and aforementioned stretches are getting longer each time.  *holds breath and crosses everything that this is the start of actual, long term recovery*
  • There's been a change of gyms. In the name of time and petrol saving, I've been going to a local functional fitness (essentially Crossfit without the affiliation) gym called F.I.T Pontarddulais and enjoying it a lot. I do drag around a degree of guilt for not going to Outcast Strength & Fitness in Swansea anywhere near as often as I did (still going every now and then as a treat to myself.  No way can I go cold turkey) because they got me to a place where I can fling more weight around than I ever could before, but the way things are at the minute, I'm enjoying the extra snippets of time I get to spend with my fur child (doggo) and my man child (boyo) during the week.  I've also seen signs round this way for yoga classes, soooo...might be worth a go?  If I'm going to cheat on my first love in group exercise, it may as well be with multiple facilities.  Once a ho and all that.
Busy old month coming up, so I should have lots more to report soon.  I have:
  1. Friend Wedding 1 of 4 (!!) in 2017 next week, as well as..
  2. A seminar on writing for children because maybe that's where my calling secretly lies, as I am a child trapped in a drinking, cursing adult's body after all.  Or it could just be a bit of a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon.  Either way, I win.
  3. An all-day leaving do (*cough* drinking session) in Tenby with the work peeps for which I have already purchased 3 dresses...If anyone wants to follow me round Tenby and periodically hand me a costume change as I get increasingly nonsensical, please get in touch.  I will pay you in cuddles and questionable life advice.
 Right...I'm off to play with the doggy cam my sister got me as a housewarming gift.  A has been in the same position for so long that I thought the screen was frozen, so I'd better go and make sure he's alright...Or I might use the "voice" function on it to scare the shit out of him.  Heehee.

*gasp* d'you think he saw me? =/

Saturday, 25 March 2017

We're Not Worthy: A Mothers' Day Post

 *sheepishly raises a hand*

...Hi.  Been a while, hasn't it?  May have lost my sense of humour for a time there.  Been a bit, um...tense, to tell truth.  This whole buying-a-house thing is a bit of a head fuck isn't it?  I'm fully aware that it's not a real problem; I'm purchasing a brand new roof over my head, which many many many people will never get to do, but in my current petty tunnel vision, it's the HARDEST THING EVER!! So much adminny minutiae to remember.  So many people to chase up.  So many goats to sacrifice to the house-buying gods (praise be).  Doesn't help either that one of the key players in Operation Becky's New Digs is the actual real life manifestation of the "computer says no" lady from Little Britain.


Next Friday, Andy and I will be temporarily moving back to our respective mothers' homes while we wait for the house to be given innards (it has a roof and everything now!), so you can at least guarantee that I won't be short of material in the coming weeks.  Blogs aplenty.

Today, I thought I'd veer away from my obsessive thought vortex about being a home owner and instead focus on something a little nicer.  Tomorrow is mummer's day! During which we acknowledge the fact that our matriarchs once shat us into life via their front bottoms.  Hurrah! 

God, that's a vile mental image, I'm so sorry.

Meh, I'm leaving it in.

This morning, I've been mulling over why it is I'm grateful to Tina T (ooh, ahh, just a little bit..) for bringing me forth into a world of sunshine (for other residents of Wales - that orb thing that occasionally peeps through the murk in the sky), joy and endless, endless paperwork and phone calls.  *Starts to viciously rip out chunks of own hair*

..Sorry, slipped back into the vortex.  Genuinely, though.  Whatever token tat I manage to present to my mum on mother's day will not be enough to thank/apologise to her for what she's had to put up with.  The reasons for this area many


Why Flowers & Smellies Will Never Be Enough on Mothers' Day

1.  Remember when you were a embarrassing your mum was to you?  God, how could she be so inconsiderate as to exist?!  It struck me recently that it probably works both ways.  I've never been the coolest of chicks, the hippest of the hip (case in point: use of the words "hip" and "chick" I a T-shirt from Tammy Girl??).  Imagine the shame of having to be all "Well..yep, that's my daughter.."

 "Get up, people can SEE you!!"

2.  The obvious - she stretched her body beyond all reasonable proportions to house you for 9 months. You made her sick, tired, nauseous and uncomfortable.  And, in all likelihood, you continue to do so to this day.  

3.  A £10 Amazon gift voucher in a soppy card will never cover the thousands of pounds your mother had to spend on your every new whim that took you as you grew up.  I dread to conceive how much my fleeting hobbies amounted to in pounds sterling:

- the briefest of careers in karate and aaaaall the kit that came with it.
- mountains of felt pens replaced because "Muuuuuuum, these ones have gone all dry!"
- the pets you nagged for and then totally neglected as a child because "they're a bit annoying and they keep sitting on my homework."
- the hundred BILLION small, plastic animals that you hoarded because you NEED ALL OF THEM!!
- the  countless "borrowed" £20 notes that you took "just in case" you needed extra money for a taxi home from the local night club at aged 17, with wriggle room for a cheeky kebab in the queue.  Yes, drinking totally counts as a hobby.

4.  If your mum was anything like mine, she was essentially an unpaid counselor for all your insane non-problems from toddlerhood right up until whatever age you are now:

- Age 2(little sis born) to 10: "I truly feel that I deserve more of the things because I am older than the newcomer.  The amount of attention, food and stuff she gets is more or less equal to what I get.  Clearly, I am bigger and more important, so we need to correct the balance here."


 - Age 17 to...okay, present again:  "I'm hung over.  Come, sit with me and I shall regale you with tales of desolate woe and unbridled happiness depending on where my hormones are currently at and how recently I've eaten.  Can I have some soup and a blanket, please?"

5.  No matter what you agree or disagree on, if your mum is anything like mine, she has the solution to your issues when you need it the most.  Example: letting you and your dog live rent free in her already person and pet filled house for a month, maybe more, while you wait for somewhere new to live to materialise.  *proudly gestures at the total lack of sarcasm and mocking in this point, awaits "daughter of the year" medal*

Happy early mothers' day to you if you've done the brave and terrifying thing of materialising a person/people from your DNA and innards (biology isn't my strong suit) and for then putting up with their shit for a lifetime. We're not worthy.